May Anime Challenge: Nana

Our May anime challenge is the romance/ slice of life/ music anime Nana, based on the Manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. The manga itself ran from 2000 to 2009 in Cookie Magazine when it went on hiatus. The anime series ran from 2006 to 2007 and was animated by Madhouse, directed by Morio Asaka and written by Tomoko Konparu. It has a brilliant music score and boast with memorable openings by actresses from the series such as the series first and third openings and third ending songs which were performed by Anna Tsuchiya.

The anime series’ name take inspiration from its two main characters who are both Nana by name. Small town girl Nana Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo, hoping to live her dream life while the other Nana, Nana Osaki used to be a member of a popular punk rock band in her home town and now finds her in the city of Tokyo with the goal of making it big as a vocalist. These two Nanas meet on the train to Tokyo, and later run into each other again when they happen to check out the same apartment and decide that they must be room mates. The series shows us their friendships and lives in a classic slice of life syle was the Nanas chase their dreams. It is filled with great music, animation and voice acting, so be ready for a great challenge this month.

Week 1 - 06 May to 12 May 2019

Episodes to watch: 1 – 4

One of the best parts of the anime is its soundtrack. The song ‘rose‘ is sung by Japanese vocalist Anna Tsuchiya under the pseudonym ANNA inspi‘ NANA (BLACK STONES). “rose” was used as one of the opening themes of the anime NANA, it features in the anime itself as well and it also featured in the live-action movies adaptations Nana (2005) and Nana 2 (2006).

When Anna Tsuchiya sings the song ‘rose’ you feel the energy of trying to get the one you love to notice you, whether the love is unrequited or if the other person is too busy to notice how much you are into her or him. It is a theme we can all identify with and a theme that is recurring in a lot of anime series. Being in love itself is a manifestation of romance too.

The song’s lyrics are catchy especially the chorus: “I need your love. I’m a broken rose. Maichiru kanashimi your song Ibasho nai kodoku na my life I need your love. I’m a broken rose. Oh baby, help me from frozen pain With your smile, your eyes, And sing me, just for me” or loosely translated “I need your love. I’m a broken rose The sadness of your song falls down on me My life is lonely and I’ve nowhere to go I need your love. I’m a broken rose Oh baby, help me from frozen pain With your smile, your eyes And sing me, just for me”

The music video is from the first live-action movie. Enjoy the challenge and have a super sugoi week!

Week 2 - 13th May to 19th May 2019

Episodes to watch: 5 – 8

Konnichiwa Minna! It is week 2 of our May anime challenge, Nana. “Prologue: Nana and NANA”, episode 1 sets an interesting tone to the anime. The episode tells us a story of two girls, of the same age, the same name, both stuck on a train to Tokyo but also about the magic of coincidence. Coincidence strike twice and forges a friendship that will be tested and evolve.

The story begins with Nana Komatsu (Let’s call her Nana K, since there are two Nana main characters) receiving a text message from her boyfriend that he was accepted into art college. She impulsively packs her stuff, leaves a note for her parents and boards a train to Tokyo. Just as she wants to ask a woman if she can sit next to her, the train spits forward and Nana K trips, ending up in the woman’s lap. Embarrassed Nana asks if she can use the seat next to the woman and the woman agrees. They start to chat and get to know each other. Then the train stops suddenly, the operator informs the passengers that due to the snow storm the train can’t move at the moment. They end up being stuck for 5 hours but the Nanas kill the time by chatting it away and sharing beer, during the wait Nana K learns that the mysterious woman’s name is also Nana.

Eventually the train stops in Tokyo and Nana K hears her boyfriend calling her name. She rushes to meet him and throws her arms around him. Next she realizes that she wants to introduce him to the other Nana (from now on we call her Nana O) but realizes she lost track of her new friend without getting Nana O’s phone number! Now if you watched episode 1 you will know that they meet again in the episode, but we will not spoil the story for those that want to jump on and join the challenge. This week’s episodes are episode 5 to 8. Enjoy the challenge and have a supper sugoi week.

Week 3 - 20th May to 26th May 2019

Episodes to watch: 9 – 12

Konnichiwa Minna! It is week 3 of our May anime challenge, Nana. If you followed the anime this far you will know that episode 2 to 4 dealt with Nana K’s past telling the story of her friendship with Jun, how Kyusuke and Shouji became friends and lovers of Nana K and Jun and then Nana K finding out that Shouji is moving to Tokyo.

Episode 4 and 5 the shifts the story to Nana O’s past and shared how she used to sing at night clubs, formed the band Black Stones (Blast for short) with Ren and how Ren later leaves her and the band to go to Tokyo to join a rival band, Trapnest that just made it big. Episode 6 then recaps the events of the first episode.

Lastly in episode 7 we get a recap on how Nana K and Nana O became flatmates. Jun scolds and teases Nana K because of her impulsive decision to move in with a stranger. Nana K then goes to Shouji’s place to share the news with him but Shouji is not there and the later it gets the more negative notions plays off in her mind. Then she walks to the balcony of his apartment and from he street Shouji calls to her.

Episode 1 to 7 deals a lot with the part in our lives when we are young bold twenty-year-olds and trying to find a place in this world. Ren and Shouji leaves the ‘nest’ of their home cities and the two Nana’s decide to move as well each taking her own leap of faith into a new future. More happened in last week’s challenge episodes so we will not spoil it for you. This week our challenge is episode 9 to 12. Enjoy the challenge and have a supper sugoi week.

Week 4 - 27th May to 02nd June 2019

Konnichiwa Minna! It is the fourth week of our May anime challenge, Nana. Nana is an anime about two girls named Nana but also about their friendship, friends and all the problems that can cross their lives. As they grow, we grow with them. As they discover, we find ourselves in them with lessons we learned in life. Here are a few quotes from the series, lessons learned through the eyes of some of the characters:

We are all farsighted, we give importance to those things that are far from us, while neglecting the things that are close to us… only to realize their value later, when they are out-of-reach again.” – Sachiko Kawamura

When you fall in love with someone, you want everything from them. Its only natural to feel that way… but real love can only happen when you want what’s best for the other person and never ask for anything in return.” – Nobuo Terashima

Being alone and being lonely are two different things.” – Yasushi Takagi

Laugh at love and love will make you cry.” – Yasushi Takagi

Why is it that making our dreams come true, and being truly happy are often two separate things?.. I still haven’t figured that one out.” – Nana Komatsu

Back then I was desperately seeking to be strongly tied to someone, with a knot that would never come undone. But people can’t just be tied together, they have to connect. Otherwise they’ll find themselves bound hand and foot.” – Nana Komatsu

Often times, people say that only the closest of friends fight. But, really, fighting is just a conflict between two individuals. After all, humans cannot understand each others solely by telling the truth. It’s impossible to stay away from being hurt for a life time. But, try your best not to hurt those around you. I really think that’s how it should be.” – Nana Komatsu

Even though it’s painful sometimes, if you keep on living then good things can happen.” – Nana Komatsu

It’s dangerous here. If you stare at the stars long enough, you start thinking you could grab one, and you get this feeling like all your dreams will come true.” – Shinichi Okazaki

People say that if you fight, it means you’re close to someone; but in the end, a fight is just a collision of egos. People don’t learn to understand each other just by laying bare their feelings.” – Nana Osaki

I always thought that life was about standing your ground, no matter how strong the current was. But going with the flow isn’t so bad after all. As long as it takes you forward.” – Nana Osaki

Don’t just give up. Life is about getting knocked down over and over, but still getting up each time. If you keep getting up, you win.” – Nana Osaki

This week our challenge is episode 13 to 16, but this is a 47 episode anime. Why not finish the anime after the challenge and see where our girls take their journey next. Enjoy Nana, next month a new challenge awaits!